Are these grow lights adequate?

kathyzn5(zn6MI)January 4, 2006

Hi all, newbie here. Can anybody tell me if the Phillips T-8 32 watt lights are ok for seed starting? I have one cool white and one natural sunlight flourescent bulb in each fixture. I plan to start several hundred seeds, mostly salvia, this year. I need to buy several more fixtures and bulbs but want your advice before spending $$$$. Thanks Kathy

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jwmeyer(Z8 OR)

I start my vege. seeds under a 10.00 walmart warm flourecent sigle bulb...When about 2" they go under a 400cmh
Take a look....Actually I tryed starting salvia and had no luck? I can do vegies but maybe salvia needs something special?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 12:49PM
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npthaskell(coastal oregon)

I recently switched from normal output GE "T12 40W Plant & Aquarium Wide Spectrum" to overdriven Philips T12 40W and T8 32W "Daylight Delux". I got the Philips bulbs at ~ $3 a piece at Home Depot (Jwmeyer --- that was at the Salem Home Depot, haha). They are in 2-packs with shrink wrap and cardboard ends.

By "overdriven" I mean that I'm forcing ~60 Watts down each 40W T12 or 32W T8 bulb, by taking apart the fixture and replacing the ballast as described by "Zink" in the thread "I have found the BEST Cheap fluorescent ballast/fixture, continued".

I believe that the combination of changing the color spectrum of the bulb, and increasing the light intensity by overdriving, has helped prevent leggyness in my seedlings. I have also increased light intensity by reducing the escape of light by taping hanging aluminum foil (actually, foiled Christmas wrap) around the light fixtures.

If you don't want to take apart the fixture, and overdrive it, I understand. I think that your next best option is to replace your bulbs with "delux daylight". The second next best option is replacing your cool whites with "natural sunlight".

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 4:50PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

The Philips T8 32W tubes (ALTOs?) are fine for seed starting. Place them close the surface of the seedlings and you should be good to go. Look carefully at the lamp holders you buy to be sure that as much light as possible is being reflected down onto the seed trays.

Everyone has a different take on precisely which fluorescent spectrum and colour temperature is best. Why not try a few different ones and see if you notice any difference?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 7:04PM
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Hello, I am also new at growing indoors.Are the T-8 bulbs better than a T-12 or just more of a energy saver? What is the best florescent for indoor growing?Growing not flowering, besides T5's.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 4:51PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

The T number refers to the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. So T-12's are the largest at 1.5", then T-8's, T-5's, etc. Skinnier bulbs are preferred because their smaller diameter allows more light to be reflected around them, whereas a larger diameter bulb will block more of its own reflected light. Also, skinnier bulbs can be positioned closer together for greater intensity.

If T-5's are out, I'd go with T-8's. I'd also try to get a fixture with good reflectors that curve around each bulb as much as possible. This will direct more light downwards where you want it, rather than out into the room. As for bulbs, I prefer 6500K, but standard cool whites also work well.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 7:36PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

There's a 4' T12 out that puts out 3200 lumen but I can't remember the brand off hand. Other than that bulb I'd go with the 4' T8's. I'm also using 6500k/daylight T8 bulbs but have overdriven them with higher output ballasts.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Also there are some reflectors that are better than others it may take some searching but it can make a big difference.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Personally I would by pass flourescents and go to a 150W HPS (High PRessure Sodium) Lamp, you can get them on eBay for as little as 80 dollars used or a new one for 89 dollars, look around. I use two 150W HPS lamps for my Gardenia, Desert Roses, and Cape Gooseberry plants over the winter. This literally mimics the sun so your might spend more money but the investment is worth it. This set also comes with a reflector and ballast.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 12:14AM
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dba1954(6 - Buffalo area)

I have 3- 8 bulb T5HO 54W bulb fixtures from Hrydrofarm that put out 432 w, 40,000 lumens each and they kick butt. They run about $200 each and use 6400k or 3000k (or both) bulbs. I've meassured about 26,000 lux at the center and 17,000 on the ends so these put out everything you need plus for seedlings to semi-mature plants. Each light fits about 4-5 flats. The last 4 or 5 years we tried what you are doing with less then great results. The current lights seem like night and day difference (sorry for the analogy).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:37PM
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